Wildlife Conservation

ES is located on 900 acres of diverse habitats that have been placed in a Conservation Easement. This means that the land is preserved from development forever for the benefit of wildlife.

Early successional field habitats and the wildlife, which flourish in this environment, are disappearing, either to development or to maturity due to ecological succession. ES maintains this habitat for Yellow-breasted Chats, American Woodcocks, Field Sparrows, Prairie Warblers, Grasshopper Sparrows, Wild Turkeys, Brown Thrashers, and Northern Bobwhite (sadly now very rare here as it is in most of the eastern United States). Our open water provides habitat for a variety of waterfowl such as Redhead, Canvasback, Wood Duck, and American Black Duck. The network of vernal pools on the property are home to both Jefferson and Spotted Salamanders, Wood Frogs, and a diverse community of invertebrates that depend on seasonally dry wetlands for survival. Wooded areas are home to White-tailed Deer, as well as a number of other notable mammals, such as Black Bear, Mink, Short-tailed Weasel and Red and Gray Fox. ES participates in the Deer Management and Assistance Program (DMAP), which is a long-term nationwide research and management program.

One of our goals is to catalogue EVERY SPECIES that occurs on the 900-acre property. It's an ambitious goal but we'll learn a lot and have fun along the way. We started a new iNaturalist project to collect observations. Let us know if you'd like to visit and help with the project!

Trail Camera Monitoring

  • This study allows us to document elusive and nocturnal wildlife on the field station.
  • Estimate population densities - White tailed Deer, Black Bear, Coyote, Wild Turkey, Gray and Red Fox, Long-tailed Weasel, Woodchuck, Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, Mink, Raccoon, Opossum, dozens of bird species.
  • Wildlife abundance and diversity - at least 7 Black Bear on the field station.
  • Help to minimize wildlife-human conflicts and allow us to live in harmony with wildlife such as bears.
  • Monitor predation of Canada geese.
  • Potential for long term research.

White-tailed Deer Research and Management DMAP

  • To establish a healthy and ecologically sound population of White-tailed Deer.
  • Reduce and stabilize the ES deer herd.
  • Minimize the negative ecological impacts of an overabundance of deer. White-tailed Deer have been described as keystone species impacting the abundance distribution and diversity of other plant and animal species.
  • Improve deer herd health, stabilize sex and age ratios through selective harvesting methods.
  • In absence of predators, hunting is the most cost effective and efficient management tool to control expanding deer populations.
  • Through the DMAP program, ES has collected data on hundreds of individual deer from 1996 to the present.

Jefferson Salamander

  • The first Fauquier county record of the Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) was made at ES in 2004. Salamanders represent "keystone" species in climate change research. If salamanders are not present in a forested area, decomposition rates of forest floor litter increase, increasing the release of carbon from the soil.
  • We would like to know if the ES population is isolated or part of a larger population, so in the spring when our vernal pools are high we monitor amphibian populations.


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